Authentication: The Elizabeth Claypoole Rule

Famous people are not always known under the names they would most commonly use to sign. This is most obvious in the case of married women who are best known under either their maiden or previous marital names. Here are some examples: Beatrix Heelis = Beatrix Potter; Agatha Mallowan = Agatha Christie; Alice Hargreaves = Alice Liddell (Alice in Wonderland).  If you are in Philadelphia and see some 18th century deeds, check to see if one was signed by Elizabeth Claypoole, better known by her nickname and her first husband’s surname = Betsy Ross. Her autograph is a great rarity and you would be handsomely rewarded for a little bit of time taken. Some famous men also signed in unexpected ways. Horation Nelson as Nelson & Bronte, Lawrence of Arabia as T.E. Shaw, Mark Twain under his real name of S.L. Clemens, and Buffalo Bill under his as W.F. Cody.

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